Libya’s coast guard on Sunday recovered the bodies of two female migrants who died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea and rescued at least 250 from boats east of Tripoli near Garabulli.
Coast guard officials said one of the boats sank while the second was very crowded.
Some survivors said the fate of many migrants was still unknown.
Many boats have been smuggled through Garabulli since local armed groups began preventing boats from leaving the coast west of Tripoli last summer.
According to the International Organisation for Migration, the number of migrants that arrived in Europe by sea in 2017 is slightly less than half of the number of 2016.
Some 120,000 migrants arrived in Italy last year among more than 171,500 migrants that crossed into Europe by sea, most of them fleeing war in the Middle East or poverty in Africa.
Libyan officials have repeatedly stressed that Libya bears the burden of illegal immigration, as the country is the main gateway for African migrants seeking to reach Europe by sea.
Photo credit: Irish Defence Forces from Ireland (LE Eithne Operations 28 June 2015) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.